The new “King” of Broadway

By: Zenab Saeed ~Staff Writer~

The wait to be king is over. Disney’s Broadway musical “The Lion King” is now the highest grossing production in entertainment history. Grossing over $6.2 billion worldwide following its 17th year on the stage, “The Lion King,” recently surpassed every film or stage show ever at the box office, earning its crown as the most successful work in entertainment.
It was also named the highest grossing Broadway show last year.

The Broadway musical, which is based on the animated 1994 Disney film, takes the audience on the royal lion cub Simba’s journey through the pride lands of Africa on his quest to recover his throne as king of the jungle from his evil uncle through innovative use of dance, costume and puppetry.

Simba (Jaison Raize) - broadway dot com
Cast member Jason Raize portrayed Simba in the Broadway production.

The show made its stage debut in 1997 and has been seen by approximately 75 million people in its 22 productions around the world. It has music by Sir Elton John with lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, features the Academy Award-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and is the fourth-longest running production in Broadway history, following behind “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats” and “Chicago.”

Though “The Phantom of the Opera” is still the longest-running Broadway production of all time, it gave up its title of the top-grossing production with an earning of $6 billion to “The Lion King.” “The Lion King’s” earnings make the Broadway production more profitable than the blockbuster film “Titanic,” the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy films combined and even the six “Star Wars” films combined.

In fact, the Broadway production has already earned more than double the amount the highest grossing film in cinematic history “Avatar” earned: $2.8 billion in total.

“The Lion King’s” impressive earnings, however, only include ticket sales and do not include merchandise or revenue from the original film, which have grossed $423 million domestically.
This fact only makes the show’s feat even more notable since, in comparison to other productions like “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon,” “The Lion King’s” tickets are significantly cheaper.

There are currently 10 productions of the box-office breaking “The Lion King” around the world in New York, London, Germany and on-tour across North America.

The current touring production will play March 31-April 26 at the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts in Cincinnati.